Tag Archives: Italy

L’oro di Roma / Gold of Rome (1961) Carlo Lizzani, Gérard Blain, Paola Borboni, Miranda Campa, Drama

L'oro di Roma (1961)
Set in Rome in 1943, this standard wartime drama has its moments. The German Commandant of the city causes a turmoil in the Jewish community by offering them what seems to be an expensive way out of imprisonment and death. If the Jews can give him 100 hundred pounds in gold, he will spare their lives and not deport them to the death camps. One Jewish shoemaker (Gerard Blain) is definitely against the idea, but his brethren are confused and at odds with what to do. A subplot has a young Jewish woman, Giulia (Anna Maria Ferrero) falling in love with a Catholic and then converting – though ultimately not deserting her cultural and ethnic roots.

Read More »

Rififi à Tokyo / Rififi in Tokyo (1963) Jacques Deray, Karlheinz Böhm, Charles Vanel, Barbara Lass, Adventure, Crime, Drama

Rififi a Tokyo AKA Rififi in Tokyo (1963)
Van Ekken, an old gangster, arrives in Tokyo to direct a bank hold-up, to get a very valuable diamond, so big it’s named Titan. Riquet was to be his second-in-command, but a rival gang shoots him down before the big day. Marsen, Riquet’s friend, substitutes for him. Françoise, the companion of another gang member, will compromise the attack to the vault, but eventually they get past that. Yet, not all the gangsters will make it out of the security vault – and Van Ekken, caught, and having lost face, will do as an old Samurai…

Read More »

Toto and Peppino Divided in Berlin / Totò e Peppino divisi a Berlino (1962) Giorgio Bianchi, Totò, Peppino De Filippo, Nadia Sanders, Comedy

Toto and Peppino Divided in Berlin (1962)
Who but Totò could come up with a send-up of the erection of the Berlin Wall mere months after its completion? Totò and Peppino are hired by some former Nazis to pretend to be Admiral Canarinis and his assistant — wanted war criminals — but the American authorities don’t believe them and deport them to East Berlin. There, they’re captured by the Russians, who do believe them, and demand they reveal the whereabouts of American spy planes. In the always politically charged atmosphere of Italy, the film sparked controversy among Totò’s admirers on both the Left and the Right.

Read More »

La Grande Bouffe (1973) Marco Ferreri, Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Ugo Tognazzi, Comedy, Drama

La Grande Bouffe (1973)
Four successful middle-aged men Marcello, a pilot; Michel, a television executive; Ugo, a chef; and, Philippe, a judge go to Philippe’s villa to eat themselves to death. After the first night, Marcello insists that women should join them. Three prostitutes make it through a day or two; Andrea, a local school teacher, stays to the end. The villa, the food, and a Bugati roadster are essential props.

Read More »

Ladri di biciclette / Bicycle Thieves (1948) Vittorio De Sica, Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda, Drama

Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Ricci, an unemployed man in the depressed post-WWII economy of Italy, gets at last a good job – for which he needs a bike – hanging up posters. But soon his bicycle is stolen. He and his son walk the streets of Rome, looking for the bicycle. Ricci finally manages to locate the thief but with no proof, he has to abandon his cause. But he and his son know perfectly well that without a bike, Ricci won’t be able to keep his job.

Read More »

Django (1966) Sergio Corbucci, Franco Nero, José Canalejas, José Bódalo, Western, Action

Django (1966)
Sergio Corbucci crafted one of the most popular and widely imitated of the Italian “spaghetti westerns” of the 1960s with this violent but stylish action saga. A mysterious man named Django (Franco Nero) arrives in a Mexican border town dragging a small coffin behind him. When he attempts to save a woman who is being attacked by a group of bandits, he finds himself in the middle of a conflict between Mexican gangsters and racist Yankee thugs, with the innocent townspeople and a fortune in Mexican gold stuck somewhere in between. Django becomes a force to be reckoned with when it’s discovered his coffin actually contains a Gatling gun. Django proved so popular in Europe that over 30 sequels and follow-ups were produced, though Franco Nero would not return to the role until 1987’s Django 2: Il Grande Ritorno (the only sequel endorsed by Corbucci), which proved to be the last film in the series.

Read More »